Set It Off are the epitome of this era’s modern rock band. A background from YouTube, a busy social media presence and music which crosses genres seamlessly from rock to straight out pop music. Combine that with an energetic live performance and the seeds are set for a band that sums up this decade perfectly. They are back with their fourth long player Midnight following on from Upside Down and features some guests in Issues’ Skylar Accord and Wayfarers amongst others.
The band doesn’t hide it’s influences, in fact it basically celebrates them and asks you to join in with the party, none more so than on the cherry flavoured I Want You (Gone),complete with a saxophone solo from Reel Big Fish member Matt Appleton.
The over rising feel of this album is quite daring, in the sense that every song wouldn’t be out of place in a 80’s teen movie. Every song I feel like the music video would feature Ferris Bueller partying, Tom Cruise gunning for speed or just a bunch of kids from 90210 dancing on the beach. And that’s a great thing to feel.
It’s not metal, Set It Off have never claimed to be that. It’s unabashed melodic pop rock music. It’s about hooks and catchy rhythms. It’s about singing with the top down driving down to the beach. Tracks such as For You Forever, Happy All The Time and No Disrespect all have choruses so catchy you’ll need to go to the doctors for a cure.
Some of Michael Jackson’s best work was the ability to use a bass sound to underpin his vocal melodies with the scattered vocal approach. The dynamics of the sound created instantly got peoples attention. Set It Off do this constantly and consistently on this album and yes I’m aware I’ve just compared Set It Off to Michael Jackson however that’s the feel good vibe being displayed.
It’s not all pop songs layered with soft guitars and bass beats though. This band also know how to write a ballad. Unopened Windows sounds like it’s come straight from a movie where our hero looks forlornly out of their rain soaked window, searching for love lost. While Criminal Minds works as the big finale. Bombastic and rich in orchestration, it instantly becomes the gem in catchiness over a diamond encrusted catchy album.
Set It Off have attempted a fifteen track album of short, sweet pop rock numbers. In a world of instant song gratification and short attention spans, this band has created an album that it doesn’t matter which song you go to, you’ll be caught in the melodies and hooks. As someone more important than me once said, ‘don’t bore us, get to the chorus’ and Set It Off do just that.
Album Review By Iain McCallum